Since it is Good Friday, I thought it would be appropriate to post my trip to Montserrat today. On Palm Sunday, we were still in Barcelona & had done the majority of what wanted to do the previous day. Gray had told me about an ancient monastery just outside of Barcelona, and that he thought it was worth visiting. We didn’t have anything else we desperately wanted to do, so we slept in and then went to catch the train to Montserrat. There’s only one train every hour, and we missed ours by only a few minutes. So we bought our tickets and then found a cute little café a few blocks away to wait for the next train.
Montserrat is about an hour away by train, so I had some time to carefully read Rick Steves’ mini-guide for it. When we arrived, we took a cable car from the train station to the top of the mountain. It reminded me of Pittsburgh’s Mount Washington ride. Not quite the same, but still. :)
I read Rick Steves’ guide aloud to the group while we went into the Basilica and walked around. Montserrat has a famous ancient wooden statue of Mary, called La Moreneta) that is holding a black orb, that one can touch and receive a blessing of sort. I opted not to stand in line to do so, not just because I didn’t want to wait, but I’m not Catholic & don’t believe in the exaltation of the virgin Mary. Even though there were signs clearly posted asking for respect and not to take pictures with the statue, everyone was clearly doing so, and I didn’t want to participate in it.
We decided to do one of the two hikes – and we picked the shorter (and free) one. It was a hike that had statues from different sculptors of Jesus’ life, but I’ve chosen just to highlight the ones from Semana Santa.
At the end of the trail there is a chapel built into the side of the mountain where they found La Moreneta. People come and pray and meditate and inside there is a room that you can leave random things as a gift to Mary. There were motorcycle helmets, socks, jewelry, rosary beads, photographs, letters in every language, etc.
I enjoyed this peaceful walk in Montserrat, and felt it was a much better way to reflect on Semana Santa, rather than the insane parades and traditions that are now happening in Málaga. (Post in the future) However, I still feel that I can see more of God’s presence in the gorgeous landscape nearby – not in the sculptures.
You might agree with me.
More pictures from Barcelona & Montserrat here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151474032660529.831824.842835528&type=3&l=ec279c1d43